There has been a lot of buzz about potential uses of drones in agriculture, reports Growing Produce. And, the buzz is growing that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) could be deployed in a task that every farmer must contend with — weed management. UAVs can travel where it is hard to navigate by ground – from flying over dense forests to hovering over lakes, streams, and other bodies of water. And when equipped with the right tools, researchers say they can be quite effective at both finding and treating problem weeds.
UAVs equipped with cameras and other sensor technologies have successfully measured weed density and have been used to identify and map multiple weed species with greater than 90% accuracy. They also have been used to detect differences in canopy temperatures between glyphosate-susceptible and glyphosate-resistant weed species – data used to identify resistant weeds with an accuracy level of more than 95%.
One downside: Analyzing data collected by UAVs takes time, and that can mean a costly delay in weed management decisions.